Written by Stefan Bondy
When David Fizdale was the lead assistant in Miami, he’d submit daily ideas to Erik Spoelstra, probably knowing the response would be a harsh rejection.
“I would literally throw it back in his face and say, ‘That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Get the eff out of my office,'” Spoelstra recalled Wednesday. “And after two or three hours, one of those ideas would sink in and I would invariably end up calling him back saying, ‘It’s not the dumbest thing, it’s pretty stupid, but it made me think a little bit differently and what if it could be this. …’
“And that’s what I like about Fiz. It’s the constant ideas and creative thought.”
In another working environment, such abrasiveness would sour the relationship. But the bond between Spoelstra and Fizdale was forged to withstand passionate exchanges. They came up together from among the lowest rungs of an NBA basketball staff — from assisting in the Heat video room over 20 years ago — and graduated to coaching the Heat to four consecutive NBA Finals.